32 mile bike commute I’ve yet to attempt

8:30am: Up early on what looks to be a lovely partly cloudy day in Phoenix. Any day that the sun isn’t constantly blaring down in this town makes my day a little better. I’ve never been one to wear sunglasses, and now that my eyesight is a little worse than it used to be the prospect of sunglasses is exponentially more expensive than buying a $10 pair on clearance at any chain clothing retailer. Since November I’ve been working part time for Humana Healthcare (via a 1099 contract through GamePlan Inc) as a bike guide for their recently launched Freewheelin’ Bike Sharing program. Their community center is in Northeast Mesa and unfortunately I live in the SW most point of Mesa.

I planned a bike commute route using Google Maps back in late November and I’m somewhat disappointed in myself that I haven’t taken the time to pre-ride the route and make sure it will work. It’s just under 16 miles each way, significantly longer than the 6.7 mile commute I used to have. Part of my problem is I’m not so much of a morning person. For the most part, it’s been a challenge for me to get up before 9:30am for the past 10 years. I really enjoy sleeping, or rather the act of snoozing in the morning where it’s nice and warm under the down comforter as I don’t use heat in the winter here.

However, given that I’ll have some free time this weekend, and that Wednesdays I don’t work until 12pm, I am going to make a commitment to pre-ride it this weekend and begin bike commuting on Wednesdays.

The problem with using Google Maps in Satellite view to plan a route is that it’s not easy to see what the actual “at grade” (on the ground) view looks like to spot problem areas such as gates or fences. My planned route takes me north on the 101 access road starting from Baseline Road then jumping onto the Tempe Canal just north of Broadway. This canal travels northeast until Alma School Road at which point I have to do a little jog through a neighborhood for 1/4 mile due to the canal path dead ending at the Mesa Country Club. The canal continues directly east from the other end of Mesa Country Club until it intersects with Horne & Brown roads where it turns southeast. 1/2 mile southeast it intersects with 8th Street / Adobe Road which is a very nice road for biking, 25 – 35mph speed limits, wide, and designated as a bike route with bike lanes in some areas. Adobe Street runs east all the way to Red Mountain Park past Power Road, however I turn north onto Alta Vista just before Recker Road. Alta Vista runs directly into the plaza where the Humana Community Center is located. Here’s a photo of the route plotted on bikely.com (alt). I figure this should take me about 1 hour each way.

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